EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Stratification in the North Sea: response to different atmospheric forcing

Anıl Akpınar and Matthew Palmer
Anıl Akpınar and Matthew Palmer
  • National Oceanography Centre, Marine Physics and Ocean Climate, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (

On-set of spring stratification is one of the physical factors that influence the productivity of the continental shelves. Atmospheric convective mixing determines the on-set of spring stratification. This is particularly important in seasonally stratified shelf seas, where stratification constrain nutrient injection to the water column. Higher productivity in stratified period relies on intermittent diapycnal mixing events. Thus, the on-set and intensity of stratification is important for the functioning of the shelf-sea ecosystem. In this study, we investigate on-set of stratification, and its relation with the atmospheric conditions as well as imprints of sub-mesoscale features. We use high resolution in-situ measurements from 10 glider deployments, spanning over 18 months in the central North Sea. Focusing on two consecutive winters, we present year to year variability in the timing and intensity of stratification. An early initiation of stratification is observed in 2018/2019, which is also intense compared to the previous year of 2017/2018. We find that reduced wind stress and net air-sea heat fluxes result in an early on-set of stratification in 2018/2019. In February 2019, intermittent increases in chlorophyll are observed, corresponding to a minimum in sea-to-air heat loss. Similarly, in 2019 an earlier spring bloom is observed. We investigate this period with NEMO model outputs at 7km resolution (AMM7) and show a similar response, emphasizing the influence of atmospheric variability on dynamics of the shelf-sea.   

How to cite: Akpınar, A. and Palmer, M.: Stratification in the North Sea: response to different atmospheric forcing, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-20515,, 2020

This abstract will not be presented.